Researching the 1960s Student Protests in Pakistan

The 1960s were a time of great social and political change, during which youth involvement and student activism rose to the forefront throughout the world. Younger generations unhappy with society and government found their voice, and challenged the norms and governance. As such, the Pakistani student protest movement rose in response to the military dictatorship in place in the country at the time. And while addressing national political conditions, the movement was informed by many of the elements present in the student protests raging on throughout the world, such as left-wing intellectualism and rock n’ roll. Thus, the movement is in many ways connected to those occurring throughout the world. In my research I am hoping to see if I can find common “cultural catalysts” that were present in both South Asian student activism and it’s Western counterpart. Specifically I am hoping to see if cultural commodities such as rock n’ roll influenced Pakistani students, as they did students in Europe and America.

With the opportunity offered through the Student Research Grant, I will be traveling to London, England to conduct archival research for this history honors thesis. I’m in the early stages of research so my topic is still rather broad but I’m hoping that my research experience will help me narrow my focus! In London I will be going to the National Archives and the British Library to look at primary sources such as government records, radio broadcasts, and musical recordings. I’m hoping that all of this will allow me to not only understand the Pakistani student activism, but also help put it in a global context.